Over the last few years, the West Holmes sports facilities have taken on a renewed look. Some of the changes have been subtle, like the painting of the storage buildings around campus, but some have been major upgrades.
For example, last summer the district contracted a professional turf service to manage the football and soccer fields and both fields look immaculate. Also, if you look closely at the press boxes at the softball, baseball and soccer fields, you’ll notice new Knights’ decals on each of those buildings.
And the upgrades just keep on coming.
This spring the Athletic Boosters and the West Holmes Athletic Director Lee Ann Race added the tennis courts to their to-do list as it was in a desperate need of renovations. And like every project that Race and the booster club tackle, it got done in a hurry.
As the spring tennis season wound down, noticeable cracks in the surface were emerging and even some water was seen coming from cracks in the court. That’s no longer the case. The entire court has been re-surfaced with a layer of fiber technology and an asphalt surface on top.
What used to be a green surface that was showing signs of age and wear, is now a gorgeous looking red, white and blue court that is ready for play.
“For the last couple years, the tennis courts have been on our list of things we needed to look at upgrading,” said Race. “Last fall the cracks became really noticeable and in fact one court was borderline unplayable. It was in some pretty bad shape.”
A company known as Vasco Sports Contractors, who worked on the original building of the courts, were the ones who came back and did the newest renovations.
The overhaul is not a complete rebuilding of the courts as the original was not ground up completely, rather the courts were just re-surfaced with the new technology. A complete tear down and re-build would have cost double of what it cost to just to the re-surface.
West Holmes tennis coach Jason Otto and his team will be the first to try out their new digs on Friday, June 24 and they’re looking forward to safer play and truer bounces.
“There were cracks a couple inches wide that you could almost stick your foot in,” said Otto. “The ball didn’t hit the cracks too often, but this will at least make the courts safer.”
To go with the new courts, the tennis team is also receiving a plethora of new equipment that was also needed.
“It’s just not the courts,” said Otto. “We have all new nets and they are the proper size and don’t have any holes in them. The whole thing is just going to be nicer.”
Some of the grunt work that Race and the booster club did included submitting a lot of paper work, with the help of local tennis enthusiast Suzan Earney, to get a grant from the United States Tennis Association (USTA). That work helped West Holmes receive a $20,000 grant towards the new surface.
Keep in mind that these courts are also open to the public. So if you’re not a student on the team you are still able to break out the old racquet and see if you can still scream forehands down the line.
“The courts are not just something that our athletes use, they are used by the entire community,” Race said.
The bigger story here isn’t the cost of what it takes to pull off a project like this. Numbers aside, the passion at which Race and the booster club have for the improvement of West Holmes High School and its kids and facilities is impressive.
“It’s our job to oversee these projects and do what’s best for these kids,” said Race.
Even with all the new lavish additions to the school’s facilities, this doesn’t look like it’s going to end with the tennis courts. Race said there are plenty of dream projects she would like to see done in the near and distant future.